Founding Uriah Heep member Ken Hensley died Wednesday evening, according to a Facebook message from his brother, Trevor. He was 75.
“His beautiful wife Monica was at his side and comforted Ken in his last few minutes with us,” Trevor writes. “We are all devastated by this tragic and incredibly unexpected loss and ask that you please give us some space and time to come to terms with it.”
Trevor also reports that Ken will be cremated in a private ceremony in Spain, adding, “Ken has gone but he will never be forgotten and will always be in our hearts.”
Hensley played keyboards and guitar, and sang backing vocals and occasional lead, with Uriah Heep from 1969 to 1980, and also was one of the group’s main songwriters. He later played in several other bands, including Southern rockers Blackfoot from 1982 to 1984.
Uriah Heep is considered one of the most influential early British heavy metal bands. The group never any hit singles in the U.S. or U.K., although four of their albums reached the top 40 of the Billboard 200 chart during the 1970s.
Guitarist/singer Mick Box, the only original Uriah Heep member who still plays in the band, paid tribute to Hensley in a Facebook post.
“We may not have always been the best of friends, but there were some wonderful times we shared too, which are the ones I will always remember,” Box writes. “Ken wrote some amazing songs in his tenure with the band, and they will remain a musical legacy that will be in people’s hearts forever.”
He adds, “His communication through lyrics and melody have stood the test of time, and with the power and chemistry of the band bringing those songs to life, we achieved success we could only have dreamed of.”
By Matt Friedlander
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